The Lexus ES has always struggled to justify its place. Fighting against the shared opinion that it’s little more than an expensive Toyota Camry. For the year 2023, Lexus makes some moves to help the ES be seen as much more. Here are a few things we love about the new 2023 Lexus ES300h, and a couple things we still wish Lexus would address.
What we love:
- A quiet and comfortable ride. Practically a must for any Lexus. The ES does almost too good a job at swaddling and isolating you with its comfortable and luxurious cabin. With a silky smooth ride and whisper quite powertrain. The whole wide world outside, with its bumps and loud noises, feels turned way down.
- A much lower starting price than many of its European luxury rivals, like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6. Beware though, as optional add-ons and higher-end models will drive the price up quick.
- The introduction of a new F Sport Handling package for the ES350 and 300h models. It includes an adaptive suspension with a Sport + driving mode for a tighter, more dynamic driving experience. A great addition, as the Lexus ES has been accused of being too soft, with numb handling and a detached steering feel.
What we’d change:
- The base model engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. Even with the Hybrid Drive helping out, it only manages to make 215 total horsepower. As a result, you’re sure to be underwhelmed with the overall engine performance.
- Even with the performance oriented suspension tuning of the F Sport model, handling remains far less exhilarating than other competing luxury sedans.
It might be asking too much. Praising the ES for its quiet, comfortable ride, while secretly wishing for a more dynamic drive and powerful engine. For that, the ES350, with a larger 3.5L V6 will produce nearly 100 more horsepower, with tighter steering and handling thanks to the F Sport trim. You’ll be sacrificing the 44 combined mpg that the 4-cylinder hybrid delivers though. So really, Options for whatever kind of experience you want exist. Something for the economy-minded with a bad back. Or a more powerful, charismatic ES. All we can hope is that the perfect combination doesn’t drive up the price too much.
Price as tested: $53,880.00